Featured Primary Sources

Lincoln

Nothing can enrich and enliven our understanding of the nation’s past, or dispel apathy about it, more powerfully than primary sources. The primary sources below open up a variety of viewpoints and have been chosen by master teachers specifically for use in the classroom. Affiliate School members can print a packet that includes an image of the document, photograph, or other resource, a transcript where applicable, text to place the document in historical context, and document-based questions. In addition, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

Abraham Lincoln’s patent, May 22, 1849, page 3. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Abraham Lincoln, Inventor, 1849

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment concerning the abolition of slavery, ca. July 1

Lincoln on abolition in England and the United States, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment on slavery and the American government, ca. 185

Lincoln speech on slavery and the American Dream, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The “House Divided” Speech, ca. 1857–1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

“The Old Bull Dog on the Right Track,” Currier and Ives, NY, 1864. (GLC08594)

A political cartoon of Grant and Lee, 1864

Creator: Currier & Ives Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
American Anti-Slavery Society (1836) Slave Market of America

Lincoln on the execution of a slave trader, 1862

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Mary Todd Lincoln, ca. 1863 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Mary Todd Lincoln on life after the White House, 1870

Creator: Mary Todd Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:

Patriotic Postal Covers: “Lincoln & Davis in 5 Rounds,” 1861

Creator: J. H. Tingley Curriculum Subjects: Art Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.

President Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, 1861

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
President Lincoln delivering his inaugural address on the east portico of the U.

President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, 1865

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Lincoln Said Women Should Vote, ca. 1910 (GLC09103)

Suffragists invoke Lincoln, 1910

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863 (GLC06811)

The Gettysburg Address, 1863

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+